December 31, 2013

Lessons learned and plans for 2014

This New Year's Eve has me preparing Secrets & Sins for epub, hopefully on Friday the 3rd.  I missed the fall, missed Christmas week, and missed 2013 entirely.  This will be the last time I roll out a book so haphazardly.

At the time I published the prequel to this eBook, Sinner Man, in late October, I planned to have Secrets & Sins published by late November/early December.  It was coming along nicely.  But then things started to happen...

In early November we took a vacation to Florida to celebrate my niece's engagement and my mother's 95th birthday.  Mom had recently tripped and sprained her ankle, so she was using a cane and walking very slowly.  She flew up to spend a month with us a few days after we returned home.  Normally during my mom's visits, I keep her active by bringing her to the Y a few times a week for her low-impact workout, during which time I would work on my book (I have since joined the Y myself, so I figured I would work out while she works out, but of course with a sprained ankle she wasn't working anything.  She also enjoyed cooking, dusting, vacuuming, and other housework, most of which were also out of the question due to her injury...she needed to spend most of her time with her foot elevated so the swelling would go down.  Because she was bored, she asked me to take her shopping...every couple of days.  Naturally I did as she asked.  I pushed her around the stores in a wheelchair for entire afternoons at a time, and in the process I saw my writing time diminish...I sometimes went two and three days without writing a word and realized I was looking at possibly mid-December. 

Mom went home on December 7th.  That same day we went out of town to attend a party, because we both needed some fun time. The day after we returned there was a death on my husband's side of the family.  The funeral was not being held in their hometown in northwest Indiana (just two hours from us), but in Indianapolis, which is four hours and in a different time zone.  Because of snow, we left the day before and stayed until the day after.  I brought my laptop with me but got precious little work done those three days.  I told myself that maybe I could get it published by the winter solstice on the 21st.

That didn't happen, either.  I was busy baking cookies to send to our various family members all over the country, which I hadn't had time to do with two consecutive weekends of travel, as well as getting gift cards and preparing packages.

The last weekend in December was my husband's birthday, and it meant a trip out of town (this trip was, at least, planned for).  I am finally winding down my work on Secrets & Sins.  I've been getting emails almost daily asking when this book will be published, and I know I'm running out of time; readers will lose interest if they can't read it soon.

I am, therefore, changing the way I roll out a book.

  • I will not publish a prequel until the main book is finished and in the editing stage, so that there will not be any more than four weeks between the publication of the two.  Readers shouldn't be kept waiting two months or more.
  • I will try to do "Hollywood" style releases, i.e., like the movies.  Movies are completed months before they are actually released, and there are promos, coming attraction, advance screenings, etc. type of media attention/advertising to build interest and help get the word out. By the time it's released the next movie is being filmed.  Substitute "books" for "movies," and "written" for "filmed," and there's my plan.
  • At the very least (if the above isn't practical), I will have the book completed for two to four weeks while I give advance reviewers a chance to read and get their reviews completed and ready to post.
  • I will continue to release my eBooks on Fridays, until I make a determination of whether or not this makes a difference (my last release was a free prequel, so there's nothing to gauge).  My gut just tells me this is worth experimenting with.
  • The release date I announce will be for my eStore only.  I cannot control what Amazon and Barnes & Noble do.  On the other hand, I have never had a problem with my eStore.  I can upload the book prior and simply not announce the link until I'm ready.  My eStore pages do not include publication dates.  Books sold through my eStore will be discounted by at least $1 (because my earnings are higher there, I will still be making more money for sales here than from sales at eTailers like Amazon and Barnes & Noble).
  • No more uploading to Smashwords unless it's a book I want to offer for free.  Readers with Sony devices or who need PDFs can order from my eStore.  I just don't need them anymore.
  • I will upload the book file after midnight Pacific Time, so that the publication date I've advertised matches the publication date that shows on the product page (a personal idiosyncrasy of mine; I honestly don't think anyone but me cares about this one).

Back to my edits/polishing.  Join me tomorrow for a look at what readers can expect from me in 2014.
December 27, 2013

Fine Nuances of Writing 101

A phrase to be avoided:  "he/she thought to himself/herself"

Why?  Think about it. 

Okay, I'll clarify.  Thinking is fine.  It's adding who you are thinking to that's unnecessary.
December 18, 2013

Meanwhile, elsewhere in the blogosphere...

I have my nose to the grindstone as I work on getting Secrets & Sins ready for ePub (betcha you thought I fell off the face of the earth).  I'm surfacing enough to realize I need to post a blog, so here are a few interesting tidbits from other folks' blogs:

Marissa Monteilh talks about reviews matching (or, unfortunately, not matching) the amount of stars given at Novel Spaces.

The Just Write a Book blog outlines three easy tips to getting your indie eBook written and published fast.

David Hewson offers four shortcuts to remember for writers who use Scrivener.

Hope you find these useful!
November 29, 2013

Thanksgiving Weekend Multi-Author eBook Sale

As of 12:01AM Central Time this morning, the multi-author eBook sale is in effect.  A number of authors, myself included, have reduced the prices on their eBooks just for you, by up to 75%!  Sale prices will be in effect until 11:59PM on Cyber Monday, December 2nd.

You can check out the eBooks on sale here.  Please do feel forward to share this link with your eBook-reading friends.  Happy Reading, and enjoy your weekend!

November 26, 2013

Tia Kelly Has a New Book Releasing Today!

A month has gone by since my last'd that happen?  Here's my three-word answer:  Secrets & Sins. I'm working diligently to get it published.

Anyway, today is the release day for author Tia Kelly's new novel, Playing For Love, the kickoff of a brand new series, The Wilkersons.  Here's all the info you need, including buy links!  Be sure to leave a comment for a chance to win a complimentary eBook from Tia!

Playing for Love
By Tia Kelly

Release Date: November 26, 2013

Kenneth Wilkerson, baseball's MVP of breaking hearts isn't in Craymont looking for complications. With an injury that has him sidelined from the game he loves, and the latest scandal in his wake involving a woman who is very much engaged to someone else, the last thing he needs is to get mixed up with Paige Scott.

Paige Scott, a former party-girl, has a very murky past and even murkier relationship with Kenneth's best friend Carlos Ortiz. Paige knows Carlos watched her go from it girl to broken and when she finally healed, he made it clear to her that he would not step aside to let another man in just to do it again.

But Kenneth lets nothing stand between him and what he loves.
Love for the game… his family… and her.

PLAYING FOR LOVE is the first novel from the Wilkersons in Love series. Tia Kelly invites you to come meet the Wilkersons and get ready to fall in love.




“Open the door, Paige,” Kenneth demanded in between knocks.
He pulled up just in time to see her walk into her front door. His athlete’s reflexes were not enough to make it before she slammed it in his face.
Finally the door swung open. “I need you to leave.”
Kenneth pushed himself inside and reached out to tilt her face upward. He felt the dampness on her skin and felt worse.
“I probably shouldn’t have left, but I didn’t know what to expect after last night.”
Paige pulled back, wrapping her arms around herself. “You didn’t know? Or didn’t care.”
Kenneth leaned against the wall and let his head fall back. “Paige, you were drunk.”
“And that makes this better?”
“No, it doesn’t.”
He looked at her while she took a seat at the bottom of her steps.
“Why did you do that?”
Paige looked away, chewing nervously on her lip while tugging at her shirtsleeve. “I don’t know.”
“I think you do.”
“Is that what you do? Psychoanalyze the women you sleep with the morning after?”
“Paige, I don’t have any regrets about last night except for one.”
She looked up and searched his face to prepare her for what he was about to say. “And that is?”
“That I was the only one that actually wanted to be there.”
Paige pulled back and stared at him. “You make it sound like I used you.”
“Didn’t you?”
Paige huffed. “We have to work together until you’re released back to your team. I can’t have this conversation with you every time we cross paths.”
“And you won’t.” He stared back to her and sat on the staircase next to her. “Look at me, Paige.”
She glanced up, releasing the edge of her sleeve. Her expectancy and uncertainty warned him that whatever he had to say, he needed to be careful in how he delivered it.
“Typically, I don’t care about what happens the morning after, but there’s something in your eyes that tells me last night was more than just a one nighter for you.”
“What makes you think that?”
“Because last night scared me, too."


Playing for Love, available now for Kindle and Nook! Be sure to leave a comment, and you might just win a copy...Tia will stop by either later tonight or first thing tomorrow morning to choose a winner!
October 26, 2013

Anatomy of an eBook:  Sinner Man: A Short Prequel

I tried an experiment and announced my first-ever ahead-of-time publication date for a prequel to an upcoming novel, that date being yesterday, 10/25/2013.  I learned from Amazon that books have to be uploaded according to Pacific Time to prevent them from back-dating the pub date to the previous day (I'm sure no one even notices this, much less cares, but matching dates are one of those little things that irk me. Its roots are probably in my days of being traditionally published, when eBook pub date and on-sale dates were one and the same). So, after publishing the changes I'd made to my website that afternoon to reflect the links for free downloads at midnight, I snoozed for a couple of hours and got up at 2:30AM to begin the upload process to eTailers.

I went to Smashwords first. After a few mishaps with the copyright page wording to meet their specs, it went live. I priced it at free and got an ISBN to possibly get into expanded distribution. So far, so good.

Barnes & Noble was next. They told me my cover was too large. I initially thought I would have to have a special cover designed for them (my cover designer has informed me that it's a matter of toning down the resolution) and all to aware that I've had problems with them since they changed from Pubit to Nook Press--I simply crossed them off my list. It's not a big deal; a free ePUB formatted eBook is available both at my site and at Smashwords.  Although my cover designer will take care of this for me, I admit to not being in a hurry to get it uploaded to them.

Finally, to the behemoth that is Amazon. I had earlier set up a dummy product page, where I uploaded both the cover and the text and previewed it so I could detect any possible problems ahead of time, of which there were none. It was a cinch to set up the real thing and once again preview it. I priced it at 99 cents, the minimum (my hope was for the prequel to get to other retailers through Smashwords and that Amazon would eventually match the price). I figured it would take from four to six hours to go live (between 7AM and 9AM), so I went back to bed. 

When I got up later this morning, lo and behold, there was an email from Amazon: "Congratulations, Your eBook is Live in the Kindle Store!" I happily clicked on the link they sent me...only to have it lead to a 404 error page. I immediately emailed them to make them aware of this, since obviously no one bothered to check the link before they sent it to me (it might take until Monday for them to tell me what the ?#!! they did with my book, which will cause a delay in my advance reviewers posting their opinions about the prequel).

Update:  I stayed offline for the next seven hours or so to tend to other stuff and noticed upon my return that Amazon apparently found where they dumped my book...Sinner Man: A Short Prequel is now available through Amazon...with a publication date of October day earlier than the date I requested.  So much for getting up in the middle of the damn night.  Looks like I'll be sending them yet another email.

The moral of the story: Either A) stick to the rather haphazard now-you-see-it-now-you-don't method of e-publishing that indie authors have been relegated to (uploading whenever you have it ready, waiting for it to be processed, doing no promo or announcements until after it's available), B) announce a pub date, but upload your book five or six days ahead of time to give Amazon a chance to locate the black hole they put your book in or resolve other issues), or C) have a backup plan, like your own website...because you can't count on eTailers, but you can always count on yourself. 

Will I continue to announce pub dates for my future releases? Yes...with a caveat that it is guaranteed to be available on the promised date only at my eStore, not at other eTailers.
October 25, 2013

Are you ready for some sinfully good reading?

Sinner Man: A Short Prequel, is now available as a free download at the Bunderful Books website and at Smashwords!  It is available in formats to fit any device.  I will not be uploading this book to Barnes & Noble (ePUB files are available at the aforementioned site).  Amazon successfully uploaded my file, but has apparently lost it (more about that tomorrow).  The price there will be 99 cents, but why pay for it if you can get it for free?

"In this prequel to the upcoming novel Secrets & Sins, author Bettye Griffin transports readers back to 1950s Chicago, to the wedding of Lorraine Hawkins and Vernon Pace. Lorraine is the daughter of a maid, while Vernon comes from one of the leading families in the area. Regardless of Vernon’s background, many people have doubts about his ability to settle down…including Lorraine. What no one knows is that this marriage will set the stage for events that will forever change the lives of both Lorraine and her best friend, Julia Scott, and affect future generations as well..."

Download yours today!
October 20, 2013

Wonder what to say in a book review?

Many readers say they would write book reviews if they knew what to say.  For some it feels like those old book reports we used to have to do for other words, not at all pleasant.  It's actually a lot easier than you might think.  Here are some suggestions:

If you can summarize the storyline or character's issues in a sentence or two, begin with that. There's no need to recount the entire plot; potential readers can look at the product description for that.

Simply say what you liked about the book. Did it make you feel like you were the proverbial fly on the wall observing the action unfold? Did the dialogue ring true? Was the book a true representative of its genre (i.e., romance should have romance, mysteries should have mystery)? Did you simply like the author's style?  Say so.

Please, please, please do not give any spoilers.  Nothing makes me grit my teeth more than reviewers who unwittingly give away plot twists that are supposed to come as surprises to the readers.  I say "unwittingly" because I simply don't believe it is their intent to ruin the reading experience of others; I think it's more of a case of them writing their thoughts without realizing what it would give away.

Now, chances are that you didn't like the book. Some readers choose not to review books they disliked. Others prefer to.  Either is fine, but please remember, you can be critical without being nasty.  Maybe it had too much unnecessary information or meaningless chatter between characters ("filler"), was repetitive, felt bland or flat, was littered with typos or had continuity errors, went into detail about the obvious but glossed over the confusing, had loose threads or story arcs that went nowhere, unlikeable characters, etc. 

You can like a book but still point out some things that bothered you, which will often help the author understand why you liked the book but only gave it a 3, or raved about it but only gave it a 4. 

End your review with whether or not you would recommend the book, and to who ("if you love a good love story," if you like a juicy drama," "if you like a sexy romance," etc.).

That's pretty much it.  Easy as riding a bike, right?  A final word: Your rating should reflect your feelings about the contents of the book only.  It's not fair to take off points because you wanted it to be longer (especially if the book was advertised as a short story or novella), or because you didn't like the cover, or because you had trouble getting a physical book delivered or with the download of an eBook (the latter is often done without reading the book itself).  On the other hand, nor is it fair to give a high rating because the book was delivered promptly or in good condition, was a smooth download, which is also done without reading the book.  I haven't seen any authors complain about this, including those who loudly object to the former set of circumstances, but face it, folks, it's a two-way street.

Happy reviewing! 
October 17, 2013

Coming 10.25.2013

For the first time ever I am announcing a publication date of an eBook in advance.

Sinner Man: A Short Prequel, will be available on 10/25/2013.  It will be a free download at Smashwords and at my publisher website.  It will be 99 cents at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.  Whether or not they will make it free as well is going to be anyone's guess.

Now, let's see how this works out...

October 14, 2013 

About the 2013 SORMAG Online Conference

Today LaShaunda Hoffman, founder of SORMAG, is here to tell us about the SORMAG Online Conference, which will be starting November 1st, less than three weeks from now.  Take it away, LaShaunda!
I would like to thank Bettye for hosting me today.  

My name is LaShaunda C. Hoffman and I’m hosting the SORMAG’s Online Conference...the one conference you don’t have to leave your home to attend.  I'd like to take this opportunity to answer a few FAQ's, so read on...

Question #1:  What is an online conference?

I created the first online conference in 1999.  I wanted to attend a live conference but I didn’t have the funds or the vacation time to attend one.  I met a woman who hosted an organization online conference and she shared how she organized it.  I took her suggestions and created the first conference.  This year’s conference will be a lot different from that first one because we've evolved over the years.

The conference is similar to a live conference the difference, being you’re online instead of in person. This conference is 24/7 which means you can stop by the blog or fan page any time of the day to participate.  The phone panels are the only times you have a set time to attend.

You get the workshops on craft, business and marketing.

You have panel discussions you can participate in.

You get to meet new people.

You win prizes.

You get a goody bag.

You can buy books.

The best part about this conference is you have the luxury of doing all of this in front of your computer and it’s all free.

Have I convinced you to register?  Check out our agenda, and at the end take a moment to register.


SORMAG is Shades of Romance Magazine an award winning magazine this is in digital and blog form.  We feature author interviews and book promotion.

Check out our latest issue -

See what’s happening with us daily at –

Need help with your promotion –

Question #2:  What was the last conference you attended?

If you answer the question or leave a comment, you have a chance to win the following:

$10.00 Gift Certificate to (5 winners)

Or Book Teaser Ad (5 winners)

Visit the following blogs for the next questions for chance to win.

Invite to SORMAG’s online conference?
 10/11 Simply Said Reading Accessories -

What is an online conference? 
10/14 Bettye Griffin -

How can you participate in an online conference? 
10/15 Maxine Thompson -

What happens on the 1st Day of the conference? 
10/16 Unoma S. Nwankwor -  

What happens on the 2nd Day of the conference?
10/17 Makasha Dorsey -

What happens on the 3rd Day of the conference?
10/18 Dorcas Graham -

What are the goals of the SORMAG’s online conference?
10/21 Deatri King Bey -

Tips to have a good experience at an online conference 
1.  Check the agenda and attend the workshops that will interest you 
10/22 Renee Williams –

Tips to have a good experience at an online conference 
2.     Participate, don’t be a lurker 
10/23 Shelia Goss –

Tips to have a good experience at an online conference 
3.     Meet new people, introduce yourself 
10/24 Patricia Woodside -

Last Day to register for SORMAG’s Online Conference 
10/25 Lori Soard -

SORMAG’s Online Conference – Nov 1-3 
10/31 See Ya On The Net –

Thanks for taking the time to read my post.  If anyone has a question for me feel free to leave a comment.  I will be checking back throughout the day to answer them.  Hope to see you at the conference.  LCH
Thanks, LaShaunda!  Now, if you haven't yet registered for this free conference, I hope you will!  
September 29, 2013

First Look:  Secrets & Sins and its prequel, Sinner Man

Here are the covers, beautifully designed by Sean D. Young of Young Creations.  At this time I am planning on releasing Sinner Man sometime in the latter part of October.

Its first sentence:  The gossip started well before the ceremony.

Sinner Man will also include a preview of Secrets & Sins that is all but guaranteed to make you want to keep reading!  It will be a free download from my Bunderful Books website (stay tuned; I'll announce when it's available), and possibly even at other retailers if they cooperate, although not right away.

I am hoping to have Secrets & Sins available for purchase sometime in November.  It is not exactly a short book, and it will have to undergo a vigorous editing and proofreading process, so it will all depend on the schedule of my editor and my proofreader. 

I do hope you're planning on reading!  What do you think of the covers?
September 26, 2013

Anatomy of an eBook:  Secrets & Sins

I've been busy writing Secrets & Sins, so busy that I am now at the point where I am determining whether or not I need to put in bridging scenes so changes in action don't seem so abrupt.  Does this mean publication is imminent?  No.

Let me explain.  My editor has informed me that she is contracted for the time I had hoped to send her my manuscript.  This alone means I need to push back the publication.  I then decided to do a prequel, since there is plenty in this story that I can expand upon, especially when you consider that the inciting action takes place in the mid-1950s, over 50 years before the present day when everything starts to unravel.  I plan to have the prequel published by the third week of October at the latest, and like the last time I did this (with the prequel Lost That Lovin' Feeling, prequel to Love Will Follow), the prequel will be free at my publisher website and 99 cents at major retail sites, unless I can get it free there also.

I hope to publish Secrets & Sins in the latter part of November.  I'll probably unveil the cover next week, so stay tuned!  
September 21, 2013

Meanwhile, Somewhere in the Blogosphere...

Some interesting blog columns have appeared recently I thought I'd share with you...

Author Jody Hedlund offers tips on creating sigh-worthy romance stories (sighs of satisfaction, that is, not of the take-this-shit-off-my-eReader type).

If you're not all a-Twitter, Annie Neugebauer explains Everything You Need to Know About Hashtags at Writer Unboxed

If you're interested in tips on what makes a good eBook cover, check out Joel Friedlander's monthly eBook Cover Awards at The Book Designer.  New covers (and comments) every month. 

As I get closer to starting my small-town series, Karen S. Wiesner details mistakes to avoid when writing a series at the Writer's Digest blog.

More about series writing by Larissa Reinhart at Romance University.

Hope you find these useful!

September 20, 2013

Guest Blogger:  Stacy-Deanne

I've got a lot of work to do, since prior to my weekend away last weekend I did next to nothing.  Author Stacy-Deanne is stepping in to take over my blog today to talk about inspiration, a question writers hear often.  She also mentions being influenced by one of my all-time favorite filmmakers.

Stacy's latest book, The Wild Life, is available now.  Not only has she brought an excerpt to pique your interest, but she is giving away a complimentary copy to up to five don't forget to answer the giveaway question below and to to leave your email address with your comment to be in the running!

I'm getting back to my writing.  Take it away, Stacy-Deanne!  

Everything Great Starts with Inspiration

To celebrate my latest book, The Wild Life, I want to talk about my inspiration for writing. One of the main questions people always ask me is how I got into writing mystery novels. Well, I’m a natural born mystery buff. Since I came outta my mother’s womb I loved mysteries. I remember snuggling beside my mom back in the 80’s when I was just a little kid and watching old Hitchcock movies. The first one I saw was Dial M for Murder and I was so taken aback with the ending and that key. LOL! Anyone who’s seen the movie knows what I mean. Hands down I have never seen a twist as compelling as the one on Dial M for Murder.

Hitchcock is my idol and every time I write a mystery, I channel him. I don’t think anyone will ever compare to him. He had a brilliance that you can’t learn. You have to be born with it. What I love most about Hitchcock is that the answers to his mysteries are obvious yet he constructs such brilliant plots that you don’t even realize that the answer to the mystery is right in front of you. That’s a good mystery. Whether the mystery involves looking for a killer or weapon, it should be obvious, yet not-so-obvious. Only a master accomplishes that.

I will forever be grateful for Hitchcock because if it hadn’t been for me curling up with my mom and watching those old movies, I most likely would not be the mystery writer I am today.

The Wild Life (excerpt):

“What do you expect me to say, Steve?” Brianna sat beside Jayce. “I don’t even know what’s going on.”

He bent over her. “Can’t anything go well for you, woman? Why do you keep getting yourself in these predicaments?”

“Oh excuse me for coming home and finding a man in my kitchen!”

Jersey tugged on her ears. “I have a huge headache and one of my officers has just been attacked. The last thing I need is for you two to argue.”

Steven and Brianna made faces at each other.

“We’re worried about you, Morris. Tell us what’s going on so we can help.”

“I don’t know if you can help.”

Davis slunk into the room and rested at Brianna’s feet. She scooped up the brown feline.

“The guy that tried to kill me…” She scratched Davis’ ear. “Well, he worked for Milan Varela.”

Steven gaped. “What the fuck did you just say?”

Brianna shrugged.

“Are you fucking kidding me? A man who worked for the head of the Southern Cuban Mafia was here? Here?”

“I was telling Bree that a friend of mine in the FBI might be able to help her,” Jayce said. “It’s about her father. They’re looking for him.”

“George?” Jersey’s green eyes beamed from behind her glasses. “What the hell would the Cuban Mafia want with George?”

“No telling. You know the life my father lives. It’s full of risks and he makes no apologies for it.”

Jersey touched the back of her neck. “How the hell could he even get close to Milan Varela in the first place?”

“So this is the type of stuff your father’s always into?”

“Jayce, my father has never been a father to me. He stays gone for decades at a time and pops up probably once every ten or fifteen years when he wants something. I wonder if he even remembers he has a daughter half the time.” She kissed Davis’ head. “Right now what’s important is this mess he’s got going with Milan. Why would he want my dad dead?”

“I just can’t believe this. I mean, your dad has been involved in some shady things during his life but nothing like this. What are you gonna do, Morris?”

“As much as I hate him, I can’t let anything happen to him. I gotta find out where he is.”

The Wild Life is available in print and ebook, at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Mailing list:

Giveaway Question:

Name something that’s inspired you personally or professionally and why.

Five people who provide the most interesting answer to this question will each win an eBook copy of The Wild Life.
Giveaway ends at 8 pm Central Time. Ebook copies will be emailed to participants by Stacy-Deanne. Commenters must leave email address with comment to be eligible.
September 13, 2013

Adventures in Scrivener #2

Well, 450 people looked at my first blog about this software, and while less than 2% left comments, I guess there's an interest, so I'll continue giving a few pointers.  Note that I am not an expert in this software by any means, but I can find my way around.  If you want expert advice, I recommend Gwen Hernandez's book, Scrivener For Dummies (although I must say this works better for Mac users, who use  a more advanced version than those who use Windows).  If you're late to the party, check out the first blog I did on this topic.

Today I want to look at the Corkboard mode, which is a series of on-screen index cards that look like this:

Some writers, myself included, like to lay out their books before they start writing, so they have  a defined story (the specifics of which can always be changed) and don't end up having to abandon a project when they realize it isn't going to come together.  This can be done on a poster board with Post-It notes.  I always liked using different color Post-Its to track the plot by each character and also by the happenings in that particular thread (i.e., hero, heroine, general, romance, antagonist/conflict).

This same method can be used in Scrivener.  Simply create a new file (the how-to is in my previous blog) and choose the Corkboard view.  The first text file should already be there.  You might want to add more as you go, or hit Ctrl-N a couple of times to give you more index cards.  Fill them in, and don't worry about what order they're in...because all you have to do is highlight it, then drag and drop until it's in the order you want!  So if you want to record the point in your story where the crisis arises, or the ending, go right ahead!  I often start laying out books while actually writing other projects--because you have to record those ideas as they come--and as things occur to me I add to the Corkboard...just today I opened a file and added an index card that said, "After dinner, [son] develops the same reaction to shellfish as [heroine] described, much to the annoyance of [hero]."  (When drafting, my characters don't yet have names.)

If you want to move scenes or chapters up or down in the Binder rather than in the Corkboard, just highlight the item to be moved and use the combination keystrokes of Ctrl+Up Arrow or Ctrl+Down Arrow to move it up or down, repeating as necessary until it is where you want it.
Now, for a few special features:

Go to the General Metadata section on the right (between the Synopsis and the Project/Document notes).  There you will see sections called Label and Status.  Click on the drop-down menu by Label.  You will see two choices, Concept and Chapter.  There will also be an option to edit (when you click on the plus sign at the bottom, another choice will appear beneath the aforementioned two, waiting for you to name it; you can also click twice on the color to change it (more about that in a few).  Use your creativity here.  Would you rather type scenes than entire chapters?  Create a label called "Scene."  You might also want to use character names or character roles (Hero, Heroine, Antagonist/Villain, etc.) for labels.  If you're writing a mystery you'll probably want a Mystery label.  Be sure to pick a different color for each.

Now, go to the View menu and select the Use Label Color In feature.  Turn this on by checking all four options, and the color you've chosen for each label will show up in the Binder on the left, in the Corkboard mode (both of which can be seen in the photo above), and in the Outline mode (the fourth option, that of Icon, will change the color of the icon on the upper left of each index card, which really doesn't make a huge difference that I can see, but I turn it on anyway.

Back at the General Metadata screen, it's time to set up your Status options.  Click the drop-down menu, and you'll see the defaults:  To Do, First Draft, Revised Draft, Final Draft, and Done.  The Status is the word(s) that show diagonally across the index card (see the photo above) and serve as a quick reference of how complete the chapter is, although if there's something else you'd like to use this for there's no reason why you can't.  I personally added an Incomplete status but kept the existing selections intact.  Like the Label, the Status will show as No Status until you give it one.

You can fool around with options for the Corkboard by going to the View menu and selecting Corkboard options.  For instance, if the Status stamp across each index card annoys you, you can remove it.

A few words about Outline mode.  I don't use this feature much myself, but it is a vertical listing of your story summary from top to bottom (the Corkboard reads across, just like this blog), including the Label and Status you have assigned.  The order of the story can be changed by highlighting and moving to the desired location.

That's it for this session.  I'll be back next week with some final tips.  I won't be online much this weekend, but if you leave questions I'll try to answer them early next week...